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Identification of macromolecules in food is a standard introductory high school biology lab. The intent of this article is to describe the conversion of this standard cookbook lab into an inquiry investigation. Instead of verifying the macromolecules found in food, students use their knowledge of the macromolecules in food to determine the characteristics of specific biological indicators.
Use of real specimens brings the study of biology to life. This activity brings easily acquired plant specimens into the classroom to tackle common alternative conceptions regarding life, size, complexity, the nature of science, and plants as multicellular organisms. The activity occurs after a discussion of the characteristics of life and engages students in application of course content and utilization of scientific thinking. It is appropriate for any class in which the nature of life and its structural complexities are addressed and in which teachers want to help students gain familiarity with plants as multicellular organisms.
New science standards and reform recommendations spanning grades K—16 focus on a limited set of key scientific concepts from each discipline that all students should know. They also emphasize the integration of these concepts with science practices so that students learn not only the “what” of science but also the “how” and “why.” In line with this approach, we present an exercise that models the integration of fundamental evolutionary concepts with science practices. Students use Avida-ED digital evolution software to test claims from a study on mutated butterflies in the vicinity of the compromised Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex subsequent to the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. This exercise is appropriate for use in both high school and undergraduate biology classrooms.
This activity provides students an interactive demonstration of the electron transport chain and chemiosmosis during aerobic respiration. Students use simple, everyday objects as hydrogen ions and electrons and play the roles of the various proteins embedded in the inner mitochondrial membrane to show how this specific process in cellular respiration produces ATP. The activity works best as a supplement after you have already discussed the electron transport chain in lecture but can be used prior to instruction to help students visualize the processes that occur. This demonstration was designed for general college biology for majors at a community college, but it could be used in any introductory college-level or advanced placement biology course.
This lesson is designed to teach students that behavior is a trait shaped by both genes and the environment. Students will read a scientific paper, discuss and generate predictions based on the ideas and data therein, and model the relationships between genes, the environment, and behavior. The lesson is targeted to meet the educational goals of undergraduate introductory biology, evolution, and animal behavior courses, but it is also suitable for advanced high school biology students. This lesson meets the criteria for the Next Generation Science Standard HS-LS4, Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity (NGSS Lead States, 2013).
Heart valves play a vital role in efficient circulation of the blood, and the details of their physical structure are related crucially to their function. However, it can be challenging for the learner to make the mental connection between anatomical structures of valves and the changing pressure gradients that the valves experience and come to an understanding of valve function. Making your own simple, inexpensive working models allows your students to visualize valve action quickly and easily, and to predict effects on function if valve structure were altered. A link to a video showing use and construction of the working valve models is given.
We have developed an upper-level undergraduate laboratory exercise that enables students to replicate a key experiment in developmental biology. In this exercise, students have the opportunity to observe live chick embryos and stain the apical ectodermal ridge, a key tissue required for development of the vertebrate limb. Impressively, every student who has tried this protocol has been successful, making it a good introduction to the use of the chick model system in studying development. The array of materials about limb development, using chick embryos in teaching laboratories, and the history of this experiment provide a rich background for teachers and students.
In this activity, students are given the opportunity to combine skills in math and geometry for a biology lesson in the cell cycle. Students utilize the data they collect and analyze from an online onion-root-tip activity to create a paper-plate time clock representing a 24-hour cell cycle. By dividing the paper plate into appropriate phases of the cell's cycle on the basis of the data they collected, they can visualize the data, hypothesize, and predict how the time spent in each of the phases in the cycle might change in abnormal situations, such as in cancer or other diseases that affect control of the cell cycle.